John Hertz: Another Science Fiction

By John Hertz (reprinted from Vanamonde 921):  Art lovers (and perhaps Best Related Work nominators) will want a look at Megan Prelinger’s Another Science Fiction (2010), collecting a hundred twenty striking Space images from commercial publications of the years 1957-1962. Her book is two hundred forty pages, and some images get a full page, or two, quite rightly. All are highly imaginative; the things pictured had not been built, not that all the images are representational; it is science fiction through and through; it is wonderful art; it has everything to do with us: and little connection. These artists were not working in our field, more’s the pity, nor is there much sign they knew what ours were doing. So the title is true. Before the May release The New York Times, 9 Mar 10, p. D1, gave a dozen of the images on paper, half as many on the website. The Times‘ text is expectable; so is the book’s; imagine a lemon reviewing a quince. But never mind that. Most of the images came from Aviation Week, and Missiles and Rockets which is no longer published. Prelinger says (her p. 14), “I little expected that the advertising in their pages would seize my attention more than the articles.” That’s the truth too. She did us a service; let us rejoice in what she accomplished. As a picture book this is a treasure.

2 thoughts on “John Hertz: Another Science Fiction

  1. The way that headline is worded, I thought the *book* was by John, not just a reprinted review.

  2. The ad from Aviation Week I best remember is fictional only in one limited, sad, sense. It shows a home scene with the Mom cleaning dishes and the Dad (you can tell he’s a Dad because he’s sitting in an armchair holding a spread-out newspaper he’s reading) about to give his teenage Son, who is sitting at a table doing his math homework, advice that he should become an aerospace engineer, as that’s the Career of the Future.

    What makes it sad is that, if the Son followed this advice, he’d be laid off by Boeing in 1970, finding himself surplus and unemployed in a field he might never have loved and only went into because it was a sure career bet. Hah.

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